In a nutshell - it’s your defence against infections. It helps track down and attack any germs that aren’t welcome in your body. Your immune system is incredibly clever - all its cells have learnt to identify neighbouring human cells from foreign cells that enter the body. This mechanism prevents your immune cells from attacking itself however, on very rare instances this can fail. We call this an autoimmune response.
Your immune system is split into two sections: your innate immunity which is what you are born with and gives you fast-acting but non-specific immunity, and your adaptive immune system which is specific to a particular pathogen and takes time for your immune system to create. These two sides work together very efficiently and most of the germs that enter your body are destroyed before you even feel a little worse for wear. To give our immune cells as much of a boost as possible, increasing our vitamin intake from food and supplements enhances the function of these cells and will, therefore, decrease your chance of getting ill.
Your immune system also features memory cells, which recognise previous pathogens your body has encountered and fought. These allow a quicker immune response to reintroduce pathogens which stops you from getting the same illness a second time. This mechanism is the basis of a vaccine - you are injected with a muted or dead version of a pathogen, e.g. Mumps, and our body creates an immune response and memory cells without feeling ill itself. These memory cells will then kick into action if you are introduced to the mumps virus in your life.
How can you boost your immune system
Your immune system is very complex and has a lot of different parts to it. We still don’t fully know how our whole immune system works but we do know there are factors which can give it a boost in function.